Can a student benefit from using social media? Yes, it’s possible to take advantage of the popular social networking sites instead of being distracted by them!
No man or woman is an island…
…but when you’re a student, life can feel quite isolated, given all those hours spent studying in the dusty library, attending tiresome lectures, and grappling with the mind-boggling jargon of some of those blasted textbooks. As you stare wistfully out of the window, you observe the rest of the world socializing and feel a pang of jealousy for their carefree existence.
Stop being wistful and harness the power of social media for work and play, and you will reap the benefits in no time, my friend.
The first step is to edit the Facebook account you obviously have already (if you don’t, which rock have you been living under all this time?). Subscribe only to the news feed of friends who actually have anything interesting to say or post brilliant LOLcats; the rest is just a waste of your precious time that could be better spent studying.
Go through that huge backlog of friend requests you’re bound to have and add all your fellow students; search them out yourself if for some inconceivable reason they haven’t requested an add.
In the absence of human interaction, a sympathetic response to your desperate ‘this law essay on constitutional law is literally killing me’ wall post at 3 am will boost your morale far greater than your annoying teenage cousin ‘liking’ your cry for help.
Put your fear of nerdism aside and use Facebook to set up a study group; We Hate Early Morning Lectures, for example, will be inundated with members before you can say ‘this textbook cost me a week’s worth of food’.
Grappling with the finer points of your essay question will be made easier if you can ask a fellow student for their input, not to mention that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when sharing your wisdom amongst grateful recipients.
You could even go so far as to suggest a meet-up in real life! Just imagine: pooling all that superior knowledge in one place, that just so happens to be the pub.
Moving on, think carefully about how you use your Twitter account (you do have one, right?). It is another awesome way of keeping in touch with your fellow students, your professors, and your university.
Fill your newsfeed with academic input by subscribing to the Twitter accounts of your favorite (ahem) journals, who will often post links to useful articles or publicize talks that could truly enhance your academic knowledge. Seek out journalists who specialize in your chosen subject and add them to your feed for a fresh perspective relating to your area of study.
Consider starting a blog to record your progress as a student, though don’t make the mistake of prioritizing it over that essay with a deadline looming large, tempting as that might be.
Inject the content with some humor whilst keeping focused on the subject at hand; the natural talent that led you to become a student will enable you to balance intellect with in-jokes. Your blog could be read by fellow students, your professors, or even potential employers.
I’m going to end with a warning, though: your social media profile ought to be managed to minimize damage to your reputation. Those ‘hilarious’ photos from your fancy dress pub crawl might be a source of mirth to you and your mates but might not amuse the recruiter from that big company in the City.
Employers can and will use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media to vet potential employees, so delete all incriminating photos, remove yourself from dubious groups and think twice before sharing that off-color joke.
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